Giving China The Cold Shoulder

Grind for September 9th, 2018
“There is no gambling like politics.” – Benjamin Disraeli

Thanks But No Thanks

The Headline

Nicaragua Expels UN Team

The Grind

Nicaragua last week expelled a UN human rights team just two days after the agency published a damning report accusing Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s government of human rights violations against anti-government protestors.

The report calls on the Nicaraguan government to “immediately halt the persecution of protesters and disarm the masked civilians who have been responsible for many of the killings and arbitrary detentions. It also documented cases of torture and excessive force through interviews with victims and local human rights groups.”

The Details

Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands injured since mid-April, when civilians started protesting against now-suspended cuts to the country’s social security system.

The protests evolved into a widespread demand for Ortega to resign – which prompted an aggressive response by Nicaraguan police and pro-government forces.

Protestors have been “persecuted and criminalized,” notes the report. “Civil servants, including teachers and doctors, have been sacked, and people seen to be critical of the government have been harassed, intimidated, and even attacked.”

Based on interviews, detained protestors have been raped, mutilated, and burned.

Ortega’s government denies all accusations of torture and sexual assault. He claims the actions were part of a failed coup attempt, and insists that peace has been restored to the streets.

In response to the report, Human Rights Watch director Jose Miguel Vivanco urged the UN to launch an official investigation into the situation in Nicaragua:

“Ortega’s move to expel the top UN human rights body exposes his administration’s determination to conceal its brutality,” he said. “The council should demand an end to the crackdown and consider imposing targeted sanctions against high-level officials who bear responsibility for the abuses unless they reverse course, and ensure perpetrators are held accountable.”

The UNSC plans to meet September 5th to discuss its response. In the meantime, the agency will continue to monitor and report on the situation remotely.

Mind Your Own Business

The Headline

Japan considers banning ZTE and Huawei

The Grind

The Japanese government is considering banning Chinese telecom giants ZTE and Huawei, both of which have been caught spying for the Chinese government.

The ban, which is part of an effort to reduce the risk of infiltration through imported tech, could interfere with Japan’s plans to roll out 5G mobile technology before the 2020 summer Olympics in Tokyo.

According to IHS Markit Technology, Huawei and ZTE represent about 9% of Japan’s telecom equipment market. And Japanese carriers are already placing orders for equipment they spent years developing with Huawei.

The Background

The US banned ZTE for seven years after it was caught violating US sanctions by working with Iran and North Korea. In June, the Trump Administration allowed ZTE back into American markets in exchange for a $1 billion fine.

Huawei was shut out six years ago after it was caught spying on the US telecom network. The company insists it is not a national security risk and has appealed to the US Federal Trade Commission to let it back into valuable US markets.

“In recent months, several US government agencies have targeted Huawei in a series of market interventions, citing vague and unfounded security concerns,” said Huawei in a statement last week.

Australia has also banned ZTE and Huawei from its 5G infrastructure as part of a new policy which blocks any vendor “that could be subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government,” reports South China Morning Post.

Huawei and ZTE have both proven they can’t be trusted, but the real question is whether the damage has already been done. Chinese technology is already in use all over the world, which implies China is already spying on all of us.

Did you know… More than a dozen men have stood on the surface of the moon, but only three have been to Challenger Deep in the Marianas Trench, the deepest known spot in the ocean.